ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Kobe's Festival of Lights: The Luminarie

Updated on March 20, 2018
SgtCecil profile image

I am an expat living in Japan. Every day is an adventure and a blessing. Here are some of my most memorable experiences.

Many arches light the street
Many arches light the street | Source

The Luminarie

Every December crowds gather in the Japanese city of Kobe as it holds its last festival of the year: the Luminarie. Every evening, for eleven days straight, over 200,000 colorful lights bring cheer to visitors and residents alike.

December in Japan is cold. I prefer to spend these nights shivering under my kotatsu with a warm cup of ocha. So when my girlfriend told me about the chance to walk around downtown Kobe for hours looking at lights, you can imagine my reluctance.

What? Another festival? The more she told me about the Luminarie more interested I was. She didn't have to tell me twice. I grabbed my camera and we were on our way. If you're in Kobe for the Luminarie, dress warm and follow the crowds streaming downtown.

If you can't make it then keep reading, I'll show you the way.

The Luminarie
The Luminarie | Source

So what's going on?

The Luminarie is a festival in Kobe celebrated with thousands of colorful lights fixed on huge arches that tower over its downtown streets. Only certain streets in Kobe's swanky Sannomiya district are chosen. One beautiful street leads to another and it becomes a path visitors walk.

The path leads to the park: Higashi Uenchi (or Amusement Park East). At this park, there are more lights to enjoy. There are also vendors selling food and drink. Like other festivals, there are vendors who offer games but these are very few because of the weather.

Don't worry about the games. Enjoy the beer with Japanese treats such as karage (fried chicken) or corn on the cob. If beer is too cold then you'll find warm sake (also known as one-cup sake). For the kids there is hot chocolate, soda and tea.

You won't find yukatas or kimonos here. This is December at night. People dress warm and so should you.

Join the fun!

What is the Luminarie about?

The Luminarie began in 1995 as a memorial of the Great Hanshin Earthquake. This earthquake was one of Japan's strongest of the 20th century and especially devastating to Kobe. These lights and arches were a gift from Italy. They brought hope and cheer to the people still recovering from the damage. While Kobe has recovered, the message of the Luminarie is remembered every December.

Each year's Luminarie starts on a different date but usually begins on the first week of December. The festival lasts for eleven days. On Monday to Thursday, it's 6pm to 9pm. On Friday, it's 6pm to 10pm. On Saturday, it's 5pm to 10pm. On Sunday it's 5pm to 9:30pm.

If you're in the area, swing by. You might see me there!

The lights of the Luminarie
The lights of the Luminarie | Source

Where is the Luminarie?

The Kobe Luminarie:
6 Chome Kanocho, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 650-0001, Japan

get directions

What do you think? - Can you brave the cold?

Want to join the Luminarie?

See results

Did you have fun? - See you next year!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The Japanese do festivals right!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens, it must be beautiful. Have a wonderful day.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What a great experience it must have been. Beautiful.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I can certainly see why it didn't take long for your girlfriend to coax you into enjoying Kobe's Festival of Lights. You had me imagining the Luminarie with your enthusiasm and I was surprised to learn that beer and corn on the cob might be enjoyed then, cool! Congratulations on being included on the Silly Celebrations December Monster Board for this lovely festival!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      wow it looks so beautiful!

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      8 years ago from Alabama USA

      Look like a fun time for all.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)